Label: Zhark Cat: ZHARK0027
Release date: 27/05/2016
Stärker, AKA longtime Canadian artists Frédéric Arbour and Martin Dumais, make pitch-black industrial techno with an ambient-tinged approach that’s aimed more toward heads than feet. On Scorched, their new EP for Kareem’s Zhark Recordings (and their first vinyl release), the duo share four slow-rolling, intensely atmospheric productions, all steeped in hollow drones and hisses of distortion.
Three of the cuts are around 120 BPM and chained to lean, rattling 4/4 drums. With a dramatic flair, “Windswept” emerges from a splash of reverb to develop into an imposing force. The title track, in contrast, is subdued and discreet, but too much so: it ends up feeling somewhat flat and faceless. In “Arid,” the record’s haunting highlight, a swarm of apparitions glides grimly through the mix, while the closer “Dismal” is a low-slung, 90 BPM soundscape pockmarked by geysers and suffused with orchestral dread. Scorched doesn’t do much out of the ordinary, but for those in search of deeper takes on industrial and techno hybrids, it should offer something of worth. text by RA